Entertainment Sports NBA Still Reeling from Loss of Kobe and Gianna Bryant: 'It's Just Been Total Sadness,' Says Source Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were both killed in a Calabasas helicopter crash Sunday morning By Georgia Slater Georgia Slater Twitter Georgia Slater is a writer/reporter on the Parents team at PEOPLE. People Editorial Guidelines and Janine Rubenstein Janine Rubenstein Instagram Twitter Janine Rubenstein is Editor-at-Large at PEOPLE and host of PEOPLE Every Day podcast, a daily dose of breaking news, pop culture and heartwarming human interest stories. Formerly Senior Editor of music content, she's also covered crime, human interest and television news throughout her many years with the brand. Prior to PEOPLE she's written for Essence, The Cape Times newspaper and Los Angeles Magazine among others. On-screen Rubenstein can be found featured on shows like Good Morning America and Entertainment Tonight and she routinely hosts PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly's star-studded Red Carpet Live specials. Follow the San Francisco native, Black Barbie collector and proud mom of two on Instagram and Twitter @janinerube People Editorial Guidelines Published on January 29, 2020 04:50 PM Share Tweet Pin Email The NBA is reflecting on the major impact of losing Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant earlier this week. On Sunday, the NBA legend, 41, and Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash while on their way to a youth basketball game in Thousand Oaks with parents and players from the Mamba Sports Academy girls’ team. The tragic news quickly sent shockwaves across the world — especially in the basketball community. “It’s just been total sadness,” an NBA source tells PEOPLE. “It’s sadness for his family, it’s sadness for basketball and then there’s sadness for women’s basketball.” Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images Kobe — who called himself a “girl dad” because of his love for his daughters and passion to watch them succeed, especially in sports — played a huge role in Gianna’s budding career and women’s basketball as a whole, which the source says brought people “a lot of excitement” as to what “Kobe was doing in that arena.” “I think that there was a bright future for the game because he was going to be so involved. Some of the discussions that we’re having is that there’s a challenge for some of our other great NBA players to accept that role and jump in where he left off,” the source adds. LeBron James and L.A. Lakers Will Not Play Against Clippers Days After Kobe Bryant’s Death Gianna Bryant, Kobe Bryant. Allen Berezovsky/Getty Derrick Stafford, a retired NBA referee who officiated Kobe more than 60 times throughout his career, tells PEOPLE that while “death is inevitable … for [Kobe] to leave so soon after he retired, that’s the factor that’s affecting everybody.” “That and seeing him as a father,” Stafford says, explaining that he would see his daughters at games as they got older. As for the NBA community, “Everyone’s hoping this brings people together,” says Stafford. “People are talking about action now, because whenever you think of Kobe, you always think of action.” Kobe was drafted into the NBA straight out of high school. During his two decades with the Lakers, he went on to become an 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA team and 12-time All-Defensive team member. In 2008, he was named NBA’s Most Valuable Player. Authorities Confirm 9 Victims Died in Calabasas Crash Involving Kobe Bryant and His Daughter After losing the 2008 NBA Finals, Kobe helped lead the Lakers to championships in both 2009 and 2010, earning him the Finals MVP award. At the age of 34, Kobe suffered a torn Achilles tendon. Though he recovered, he later suffered career-ending injuries to his knee and shoulder, and retired after the 2015-2016 season. Following news of the accident NBA commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement saying “the NBA family is devastated,” adding that “he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability.” Kobe and his daughter died alongside the helicopter’s pilot Ara Zobayan, Sarah and Payton Chester, Christina Mauser, John Altobelli, his wife, Keri Altobelli, and their daughter, Alyssa Altobelli. The former athlete is survived by his wife Vanessa, 37, and their daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.